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Boris Johnson Cancels Christmas: Restrictions Tightened as New Virus Strain Emerges in UK

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday announced a new set of coronavirus restrictions on travel, gathering and shopping ahead of Christmas.

Johnson said Christmas gatherings and shopping must be canceled, according to The Associated Press.

The U.K. government ordered non-essential shops in London and other parts of southern England to close.

“It is with a very heavy heart that I must tell you we cannot proceed with Christmas as planned,” Johnson said at a news conference.

Johnson canceled a previous plan that would’ve permitted people from up to three households to gather for Christmas in London and other areas of southern England.

People in the affected areas will no longer be allowed to mix unless they are outside in certain public places.

“I know how much emotion people invest in this time of year, and how important it is for grandparents to see their grandchildren,” Johnson said. “But when the virus changes its method of attack, we must change our method of defense.”

Johnson made the announcement after meeting with government officials on Saturday due to the emergence of a new strain of the coronavirus in the country, according to NBC News.

The mutant strain can spread more quickly than previous variants but does not cause a higher mortality rate, Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, said in a statement.

Story cited here.